Acer Sues Former Chief Lanci in Italy Over Non-Compete Clause

Acer Inc. sued former president and chief executive officer Gianfranco Lanci in an Italian court seeking damages for breach of a non-compete clause, the Taipei- based company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

Lanci left Acer last year after helming the company for more than six years. Lenovo Group Ltd. said in September Lanci would join the company as a consultant, and last month named him head of its newly-created Europe, Middle-East and Africa unit.

Acer Chairman J.T. Wang and Lanci met March 28 last year to agree on the terms of the Italian’s departure after they couldn’t resolve disagreements over the company’s direction, Wang said in a May interview. Lanci’s resignation was announced three days later, exposing a rift over product strategy and internationalization at the Taiwanese company. Lanci confirmed accounts of that meeting in a separate interview.

“We believe Mr. Lanci has breached his non-compete measures agreed into willingly by both parties when he left Acer,” the company said in yesterday’s statement. “We are taking legal action against him in order to protect Acer’s rights and interests.”

Calls to Lanci’s Italian mobile phone and e-mail to his personal account weren’t immediately answered yesterday.

Acer, which climbed to second place in the global computer market, behind Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ), under Lanci’s tenure, has fallen to fourth place after writing off inventories accrued in Europe during Lanci’s final year at the company.

The suit was filed in Milan because Lanci is Italian and resides in the country, Acer said yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Culpan in Taipei at tculpan1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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